Democratic Federal Communications Commission members Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps Tuesday
asked chairman Michael Powell for a one-month delay of the June 2 vote on sweeping
changes to broadcast-ownership rules, while Republicans Kathleen Abernathy and
Kevin Martin responded that the vote should proceed as planned.
The Democrats' request came one day after Powell unveiled his proposed changes
to fellow commissioners.
The Democrats said the extra time is needed to study the proposals, which
combine six rulemakings into one.
"This massive overhaul of rules is unprecedented in the history of American
broadcasting," Adelstein told reporters.
He and Copps said they would continue to push Powell to make the
proposal public prior to the vote.
Powell said he would consult with colleagues and think "long and hard" about
the request for delay, but he has shown no inclination to unveil his plan.
Traditionally, the FCC tries to keep drafts of rule changes confidential
until a final version is voted on.
Some Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee favor making
the changes public beforehand, and some of the details are leaking anyway.
Besides raising the household-reach cap for TV broadcasters to 45 percent,
the plan also would allow TV/newspaper combinations in many markets and allow TV
duopolies in smaller markets.
Ownership of three TV stations -- triopolies -- will be permitted in some larger
markets, some predicted.